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Delicious Recipes Using Christmas Leftovers

Friday, December 26th, 2014
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From everyone here at Sykes Cottages, we hope you had a very Merry Christmas! If like us, you spent the day indulging in lots of delicious food but STILL have some left over, then today’s blog post is for you. We’ve compiled three of our favourite recipes that you can make using the leftovers from your Christmas dinner – and they sound tasty! If you want some more ideas, you can also check out our leftover recipes blog from last year, which features mini turkey and cranberry pies, turkey and parsnip curry, and Boxing Day fridge cake.

Leftover Turkey Casserole (serves 4)


Recipe via BBC Good Food

Ingredients:Turkey Casserole

  • 400g-500g leftover turkey
  • 350g leftover roasted vegetables eg. parsnips, carrots, roast potatoes
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, sliced
  • 1 tbsp dried sage
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 300ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 tbsp runny honey


  1. Fry onion and apple in deep pan until soft. Stir in sage for 1 minute, then stir in flour.
  2. Slowly stir in stock followed by honey and mustard.
  3. Bring to a simmer and stir in turkey and roast vegetables.
  4. Cover and gently simmer for 15 mins until turkey is piping hot.
  5. Season and serve with mashed or baked potato.


Christmas Pudding Crumble (serves 6)

Recipe via

Ingredients:Christmas pudding crumble

  • 150g-200g leftover Christmas Pudding
  • 60g butter
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 cooking apple, peeled, cored, sliced
  • 2 pears, peeled, cored, sliced
  • 2 tbsp cranberry sauce
  • 2 tbsp Demerara sugar
  • Cream or custard to serve


  1. Set oven to Gas 4 or 180C. To make the topping, rub butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs, then crumble in Christmas Pudding.
  2. To make the filling, add half fruit and 1 tbsp cranberry sauce into a dish. Then add the rest of the fruit and cranberry sauce, along with 1 tbsp sugar.
  3. Pour the topping over the fruit and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Serve hot or cold, with custard or cream.


Boxing Day Risotto (serves 4)

Recipe via

Ingredients:Boxing Day Risotto

  • 250g leftover turkey and ham
  • 100g chesnuts, cooked, peeled, halved
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 30g butter
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 300g Arborio rice
  • 1 litre turkey/chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp fresh pesto
  • 30g Parmesan cheese to serve


  1. Fry onion in half the butter until soft. Add the rest of the butter along with garlic cloves and cook for a minute.
  2. Stir in rice, then after a minute, add a quarter of the stock and stir until absorbed.
  3. Keep adding stock and stirring in this way until half is used up. Then add meat and chestnuts.
  4. Continue adding stock until rice is tender.
  5. Take pan off heat. Stir in pesto and season. Serve hot with Parmesan cheese.

While you’re waiting for your delicious meal to cook, why not take a look at our fantastic range of holiday cottages. We are open today from 10am until 6pm; with a dedicated team of reservations specialists who are waiting to help plan your holiday for next year!

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Non-Festive Days Out This December

Saturday, December 20th, 2014
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At Sykes, we appreciate that not everyone is a big fan of Christmas and sometimes it can be a little overwhelming when festive activities are thrust in your face everywhere you turn. It can feel like you can’t go anywhere without being reminded of the festive season. That’s where we can help; we’ve scoured the internet and made a shortlist of some of the best non-festive days out that you can enjoy this December:

RSPB Wild Families

Rainham Marshes

Via Flickr

From 20th December- 4th January, the RSPB is running a free family adventure trail at their Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve in Essex. The Wild Families: Family Winter Trail is open every day from 9.30am until 4.30pm- just head along to the nature reserve, pick up an adventure trail activity sheet and hunt around to find the hidden clues. Families will need to find all the clues to reveal the mystery! This winter trail is a fantastic day out for all the family and a nice alternative to the plethora of very festive events that take place throughout December. For more information on Wild Families, please visit the RSPB website.

Biking at Dalby Forest

Dalby Forest

Via Flickr

If you fancy an active day out then head to Dalby Forest in North Yorkshire, where you can experience over 70 miles of one of the UK’s best cycling trails. Dalby has something for everyone, with ramps and jumps for thrill-seekers, gentle trails for families, and World Cup standard tracks for serious mountain bikers. You can even hire bikes here if you don’t have your own. There are plenty of pretty picnic spots and scenic views along the way, as well as a tasty café where you can indulge in a well-deserved treat after your day out! For more information, please visit the Forestry Commission website.

Day Out With Thomas

Thomas the Tank Engine

Via Flickr

For families with children of the train-loving variety, try a Day Out With Thomas! This wonderful event brings Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends to heritage railways across the UK and on 21st December, Day Out With Thomas is coming to the East Anglian Railway Museum in Essex. This event does need to be booked in advance and gives visitors the chance to meet Thomas and friends, take a ride on a real steam train, and take part in fun-filled themed activities. For more information, please see the Day Out With Thomas website.

Burning the Clocks

Burning the Clocks

Via Flickr

Burning the Clocks is an annual free event that takes place in Brighton on 21st December. Organised by community arts charity, Same Sky, Burning the Clocks is a celebration of the shortest day of the year and consists of people gathering together to make paper and willow lanterns to parade through the centre of Brighton, before making them into a bonfire on the beach as a token of the year’s end. There’s also live music and fireworks! For more information, please visit the Same Sky website.

If you’re heading to any of these fun days out then don’t forget to let us know how your trip was! You can do this by either sending us a tweet or a message on Facebook.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Britain’s Best Christmas Trees

Thursday, December 18th, 2014
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We’re probably all a little biased but when it comes to Christmas trees, I think everyone is inclined to think that their own is by far the best. We all spend hours choosing our decorations, decorating our trees and of course, uploading the obligatory pictures to social media. However, there are some trees in the UK that are slightly more distinguished than others. Read on to find out about some of Britain’s best Christmas trees!

Europe’s Largest Walk in Tree – Cheshire Oaks, Cheshire

Cheshire Oaks Christmas Tree

Via Flickr

Cheshire Oaks is a favourite haunt of many of us here at Sykes Cottages as it’s just a short drive from our offices. However, the McArthur Glen designer outlet is also home to the Europe’s largest walk-in tree, which stands at over 90 foot high and 32 foot wide. The tree itself has over 5 miles of fairy lights, weighs 18 tons and boasts 100,000 baubles. Visitors to Cheshire Oaks this Christmas can pay an optional donation to step inside this one-of-a-kind twinkling tree for a look around and a fantastic photo opportunity!

UK’s Oldest Christmas Tree – Wrest Park, Bedfordshire

Wrest Park Christmas Tree

Via Flickr

This year, for the first time in a century, the UK’s oldest Christmas tree will be decorated for the festive season. The Wellingtonia stands at around 98 foot and dates back to 1856, when it was planted by Thomas de Grey in Wrest Park, which is now an English Heritage country estate and gardens. When it was first planted, the tree was brought into the property every year, decorated for Christmas, and then re-planted once the festivities were over. During this period, Christmas trees were all the rage as the Royal Family had recently embraced them as part of their own Christmas celebrations – the tree at Wrest Park is believed to be ones of the earliest examples of a Christmas tree grown in the UK.

UK’s Tallest Christmas Tree- Ballatar, Aberdeenshire

Ballatar Christmas Tree

Via Flickr

The title of the UK’s tallest Christmas tree is believed to be held by a 125 foot tall tree in Ballatar, Aberdeenshire. The tree is located at the Hilton Grand Vacations Club in the Victorian village of Ballatar, and has been decorated with 2,100 lights and a 5 foot star at the top. Previously, the claim for the UK’s tallest Christmas tree lay with a redwood tree at Wakehurst Place in West Sussex, which stood at 118 foot.

Think you know of a better Christmas tree? We’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions – you can let us know by leaving a message on our Facebook page or by sending us a tweet.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Christmas Events: National Trust and English Heritage

Thursday, December 11th, 2014
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If you’re looking for days out during December that will help you get into the Christmas spirit, then look no further as we’ve rounded up some of the best Christmas events taking place at National Trust and English Heritage properties over the festive season. From illuminated walks to ghost stories, there’s something to suit everyone!

Festive Guided Tours at Osborne House

Osborne House, Isle of Wight

Via Flickr

Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight, was once home to Queen Victoria and her family and it’s said that she thought it was “impossible to imagine a prettier spot”. This Christmas, you can take guided tours around Osborne House and see how Queen Victoria would have celebrated the festive season. Visit the principal royal ground floor rooms of Osborne House as they would have been decorated for Christmas, and you can also see Queen Victoria’s own private rooms too. Visitors to Osborne House can also enjoy the festive fare on offer in the café and indulge in a little Christmas shopping in the gift shop. These tours are taking place every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from now until 31st December, minus a few exceptions that you can see on the English Heritage website.

Illuminated Christmas Walk at Kingston Lacy

Kingston Lacy

Via Flickr

Every day from now until 21st December, Kingston Lacy in Dorset, is hosting an Illuminated Christmas Walk. This stunning country house was built to resemble an Italian palace in 1665 and is now owned by the National Trust. Its Illuminated Christmas Walk takes place from 4pm to 6pm and follows a trail based on the twelve days of Christmas. In Kingston Lacy’s rose garden, children will also have the opportunity to help decorate Christmas trees and afterwards, everyone can enjoy a warming treat from the property’s restaurant. For more information on the Illuminated Christmas Walk, please visit the National Trust website.

Ghost Stories for Christmas at Brodsworth Hall

Brodsworth Hall

Via Flickr

For something a little bit different this Christmas, why not head to Brodsworth Hall in South Yorkshire for a unique storytelling event. Brodsworth Hall itself is a spectacular sight, where time seems to have stood still since the Victorian era; almost everything inside this country house has been left as it was 130 years ago when it was a family home. The Ghost Stories event takes place here on 19th December at both 7pm and 9.30pm and guests will be treated to a series of spooky Victorian ghost stories by the Lady and Gentleman of the house. This event will take place by candlelight and is unsuitable for children under the age of 14. For more information, please see the English Heritage website.

If you’re heading to any of the National Trust or English Heritage events taking place over the festive period then we’d love to know how they were! You can tweet or message us with your thoughts on the events via our Facebook and Twitter profiles.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Sykes’ Best Living Rooms

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
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When choosing a holiday cottage, what’s the first room you look at to decide if it’s for you? For me, it’s the living room. In my opinion, it’s the most important room in the house as it’s probably the room you’ll spend the most time in, along with your holiday companions. With that in mind, we’re taking a look at some of the best living rooms in the Sykes Cottages’ portfolio. There’s something to suit every taste – let us know which one is your favourite!

House on the Hill, Charnwood Forest

Holiday cottage in Charnwood Forest

House on the Hill, Charnwood Forest, Ref. 916619

This luxurious living room is on the first floor of House on the Hill, a large holiday home set in two acres of grounds near Charnwood Forest. This property sleeps up to 15 guests and the living room is spacious enough to accommodate everyone! It’s light and airy with glass doors leading to the stone terrace outside, and it also offers a warming woodburner for cooler times of year.

Beckside Barn, Cumbria

Holiday cottage in Cumbria

Beckside Barn, Cumbria, Ref. 914337

This charming Kirkby Stephen cottage combines modern luxuries with traditional features and the living room is no exception! The stylish furniture and sleek gas fire-bowl at Beckside Barn are blended seamlessly with the original oak beams, creating an attractive, cosy place for all of the family to snuggle up.

Grove Cottage, North Yorkshire

Holiday cottage in Yorkshire

Grove Cottage, North Yorkshire, Ref. 12465

Grove Cottage is home to one of the sweetest living rooms we’ve ever seen; the cosy woodburner and feature fireplace, along with the pretty décor and thoughtful finishing touches make this holiday cottage the perfect place for a romantic getaway with your loved one.

The Malthouse, Peak District

Holiday cottage in Peak District

The Malthouse, Peak District, Ref. 17888

With its exposed stone walls, beams and wooden floors, the living room of this Peak District holiday cottage is every inch the country retreat. From this spectacular sitting room, you can also enjoy delightful views across the mill pond and maybe even catch a glimpse of The Malthouse’s resident kingfisher and heron.

Seashell Cottage, Northumberland

Holiday cottage in Northumberland

Seashell Cottage, Northumberland, Ref. 31213

For those who like their holiday cottages a little more quirky, Seashell Cottage is perfect. The living room is spacious, boasting characterful furnishings and plenty of books to keep you entertained. This cosy little cottage is just yards from the shore at Amble-on-Sea and its nautical associations are nicely reflected in the décor.

If you’re looking for a holiday cottage with a lovely living room but haven’t quite found the one for you yet, you can visit our website to see our full range of holiday cottages by clicking here.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.